Universities Routinely Ignore and Violate Basic Civil Rights

This column might win me no fans on college campuses but there is something that must be said.

Universities across the country are unconstitutionally punishing those accused of sex-based misconduct with no regard to the civil rights guarantee of due process. They say they are acting lawfully under the so-called Title IX law of 1972. But the meaning of that law has been twisted over the years by a tortured Victorian-era school of thought almost beyond comprehension.

The law is simple: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” It was enacted to make sure, among other things, that female students got as much money for their sports programs as male students.

Smith College – Title IX was Intended to Help Fund Female Sports-wikimedia

These days, Title IX is invoked for all manner of student grievances.

Today complaints are most frequently lodged by females against male students and faculty. Some are legitimate complaints alleging sexual harassment or physical misconduct, even rape. But some of the gripes seem whiney. And realize, that when a Title IX report is filed the accused (again, usually a male) is put in the position of, basically, having to prove his innocence.

“Campus Kangaroo Courts have been around for a long time,” according to Samantha Harris of FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

DOE’s Office of Civil Rights Regulates Title IX

Fire has intently studied the growing Title IX problem since 2011 when the Obama administration issued strict recommendations to schools on how to handle discrimination allegations, warning that failure to comply would result in losing federal funds. The directive waved off the usual “clear and convincing evidence” standard when judging the legitimacy of a complaint and suggested a “preponderance of evidence” was enough to judge an accused person guilty.

“Its right there in student handbooks,” Harris explained. “I wish parents would read it carefully and demand universities provide more upholding of individual rights.” She told me FIRE has seen “A disturbing uptick of complaints” about the unfairness of universities “failing to afford the accused a day in court, so to speak.”

Before any fact-finding, or a hearing with witnesses or any sort of due process the accused is often suspended, expelled or denied their diploma. Their job prospects are immediately diminished because a life-altering black mark remains on their school transcript even if they are ultimately exonerated.

Diplomas Can Be Withheld After Title IX Allegation, No Due Process – freepix

The group Families Advocating for Campus Equality says this unconstitutional policy has affected at least two thousand students whose families have contacted FACE looking for help in fighting the lopsided Title IX process.

In this era of hyper political correctness it is a process that almost always takes the word of the female complainant as gospel. Something as simple as a bad grade or a professor’s lecture language can trigger a Title IX complaint. And student-on-student complaints include a common theme. Too much alcohol, resulting in hazy, unreliable facts.

Under today’s interpretation of Title IX protections it is automatically rape if the woman says, “I was too drunk to consent.” The woman doesn’t have to say “no” she needs to unambiguously say “yes” to sexual contact. Really? Have you ever heard of college kids stopping in mid-embrace to get an explicit go-ahead agreement? And if a confused student approaches a campus faculty member just to talk about a concerning incident, to try to make sense of their feelings, that triggers and automatic Title IX investigation.

“This fosters a climate that takes away women’s independence, a climate that treats women as fragile and in need of constant intervention,” Harris said.

Samantha Harris – VP of FIRE

The Department of Education is currently working on ways to clarify how Title IX protections should be applied. In the meantime, every faculty member and student needs to realize that a misinterpreted glance, comment or touch could negatively affect their future. In a college setting with hormonally driven young people, often away from home for the first time and drinking alcohol, the slightest thing could lead to reckless behavior. The way things stand now one blurry night of indiscretion could lead to nullifying that expensive college education.

Yes, a neo-Victorian age really is underway on the American college campus.



  1. Diane Dimond on January 15, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    Reader Buddy Ullman writes:

    Dear Diane,

    I am a former Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Oregon Health & Science University and wanted to thank you for your column this morning entitled “Diane Dimond: Universities routinely ignore, violate basic civil rights.” I agree with and have experienced essentially everything you articulate in your article except that you are a bit too kind when you say that some of the complaints are “whiny.” They are far worse: false, frivolous, and/or absurd.
    I went through a horrendous multi-year, multi-investigation Title IX ordeal at my university that was orchestrated by powerful administrators who wanted to get rid of me, and they won. I won’t belabor my trials and tribulations in the body of this email, but if you are interested, I have attached a synopsis. I now spend part of my retirement providing aid and support for other Title IX victims (students, faculty, and staff) and advocating for Title IX enforcement reforms.

    I thank you again for giving me and the thousands of young and not-so-young men who have been Title IXed a voice. It’s important, and it means a lot.

    Buddy Ullman, Ph.D.

    Former Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    Oregon Health & Science University

    • Diane Dimond on January 15, 2020 at 4:13 pm

      Diane replies to Buddy Ullman

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me, Dr. Ullman. Your story is so compelling and I thank you for sharing.
      Unfortunately I’m afraid many dedicated professors such as yourself are either being unfairly driven out of higher education careers following lopsided (or blindsided) Title IX investigations or are retiring in disgust watching Title IX rules being unfairly applied to others.
      Something has to change but it will likely take many lawsuits and lost $$ following court findings for the defendants. ~ DD

      • Diane Dimond on January 15, 2020 at 5:41 pm

        Dr. Ullman replies:

        Title IX compliance on college campuses is a complete mess for reasons that you and I both understand very well. When I am in town, I spend several hours every day contending with and advising faculty, students, and staff who have gone through a Title IX proceeding or lobbying for Title IX reforms. This week, I am dealing with a 66-year old technical school employee who was fired for sexual harassment because he gave his telephone number to a disturbed female student and am also lobbying the Washington state legislature in opposition to a bill that will require schools to share sexual misconduct information of faculty and staff if they apply for other jobs. Next week, it will be something else. Anyway, the next big hill to climb will be when Betsy DeVos releases her new Title IX administration guidelines.

        Anyway, I appreciate your writing on this issue. It’s going to take female leadership to make inroads to restore fairness and justice to gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct disputes on college campuses.

        You may share my email and story with whomever you wish.


  2. Diane Dimond on January 15, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    Reader Bill McColl writes:

    Thanks, Diane. Just another example of how in the PC era certain groups are singled out as always being bad unless proven otherwise.

  3. Diane Dimond on January 15, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    Reader Donna Hayes writes:

    For a long time now, sadly.

  4. Diane Dimond on January 15, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    Reader Connie Johnson@ConnieJ45572641 writes:

    Parents BEWARE!! Do your homework on these schools before you sign the check!!

  5. Diane Dimond on January 16, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Reader Vincent Amen writes:

    Back in time, at CMU, early 2000s. No male touching a women (hands to yourself), No sexual statements or jokes to a women. One complaint. Thrown out, expelled. This was my experience & rules I had to abide by. Puts fear in a man but teaches how to behave beyond college

  6. Cornell Faculty Member on January 18, 2020 at 1:30 am

    Its a lot worse than you report. Not only are victims of false or dubious allegations persecuted with withheld degrees, suspensions and dismissals, the Title IX mafia makes no bones about retaliating against those who voice their concerns about these kangaroo courts. See the student who had his degree withheld merely for complaining about Cornell University administrators who fired his advisor under the pretext of demonstrably false and farcical accusations by a disgruntled former student ..



    Cornell faculty members have been embarrassed by the manner in which this student and his advisor have been persecuted and had their careers permanently damaged by Cornell administrators (in conjunction with the Title IX office). But there have been very clear messages from the administration that any publicly expressed concerns in this regard will not be tolerated. In essence, the Title IX office and its power of issuing scarlet letters of misconduct, regardless of the facts, is used as a tool of intimidation to shut down any criticism.

    • Diane Dimond on January 18, 2020 at 5:55 pm

      I so appreciate this comment and I thank you for taking time to write me and provide links. I cannot understand how we got where we are in a country where due process is (supposedly) revered. I would think major lawsuits would have flooded the courts. But then again, I look at the cost of a higher education in today’s America and I realize the accused and their families likely have run out of money to hire a lawyer willing to take on this fight. Personally, if I had a child, grandchild or relative who wanted to attend Cornell I would put my foot down. The best I can do is help spread the word so other parents take a hard look at a universities Title IX trackrecord and write their tuition checks accordingly. Again, I thank you so much for this comment. ~DD

  7. Diane Dimond on February 17, 2020 at 9:19 am

    Reader E. Mac writes:

    Good opinion piece, Ms. Dimond, to get parents somewhat aware of what is happening on college campuses across the U.S. — Here are several links that support what you have written – Its actually much worse than what most parents of college males realize. No college male is safe from false accusations …. we saw what the Dem Senators did to Justice Kavanaugh «she must be believed» ….


    Due process litigation tracker from The Fire

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